Two poems from Stephen Daniels’ forthcoming pamphlet, Tell mistakes I love them

The Poetry Shed

One hand on the steering wheel


the screen sprung with light
the vibrate function alerted with each chant
was the message missing a colon

or was it your way of telling me that this was closed
I waited for a correction     a meaningful emoji
each second a social media minute     until I asked you


expecting you to lol     or haha     even correct me
with a knowing semi-colon P
reassure my twitching digits

when we first met     I warned your distracted eyes
watched every reach towards the dashboard
your fingers performing – – a silhouette from the hazard lights


you left me with a closed bracket
an unfinished spasm


Surface tension

The ocean leaves me uncomfortable,
sea-sick sway, centre of a swell. Below
my family, twisted amphibians ,
snap at intimacy, check each hollow,
staunchly defend underground ancestors.

In single file they chart currents, display
their hearse…

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Pyromaniac – by Stephen Daniels

Algebra Of Owls

When I was three I lit a newspaper
through the grate in the gas heater.
I threw it close to the bin, next to the sofa.
Near my new-born brother.
I remember smoke a toddler deep,
mum’s screams lifted us up
and the sofa apologised.

It continued when I was 5
with a patch work arrangement
on the carpet. An obsessed child
can sprint surprisingly quickly,
moving from each heated exchange,
singeing existence with each pile.

At 7, there appeared to be a problem.
A back garden heap of black bags,
cackle and send smoke
signals to neighbours –
that shouldn’t be ignored.

8 years old is an odd age.
It’s when you become aware
of those around you –
and their desire to hurt you.
A hedge is a suitable victim
for ritualistic retaliation.
Sometimes a stare is enough.

9 is when they label you.
It’s when you visit

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‘This is a song about Susan’ – NaPoWriMo Day 30

‘This is a song about Susan’

Their meeting was smoke-filled,
dry-ice eye contact
across a room of hair rippling

to a continuous bass beat.
Her scent was paradise city
and his moves were all that she wants.

His mind was nearer everlong than hers.
She flirted with Morten Harket
and his take on me charm.

I watched their clumsy hand in my pocket fumbles,
and took a sip of my I will always love you tonic.
Then I was Alone again (naturally).

Shit day – NaPoWriMo Day 25

Shit day               

When my sister asks if I’m ok,
I reach into my bowels
unfurl a banner
that reads…

I read all the books to convince you.

I turn, face the sun
let my innards
(and the banner)

I fold the banner
fifteen times
place it on the tip
of my tongue


I taste the dry bowel blood
continue to swallow
convulsing each letter
feeling the folds
scrape along the inside of my throat.

I fill a glass with my piss
hold it close to my chin.

I take a jerk backwards
help the banner down.

I look at her face.

I’m fine.

Seeing – NaPoWriMo Day 21


Air hostesses kidnap aliens
they stowaway their eyes,
the lids are removed.

They slice the tops off,
convert them into shot glasses
in which they serve
the most ginnest of tonics.

I watch their directions,
keep a steady stare
at their luggage sorting antics.

My observations keep me calm
while the plane banks left,
and the world starts spinning.

A poem from last year – ‘Bereft’

With NaPoWriMo in full flow, my days are filled with trying to write one poem that I am happy to share on my blog! As a result my output is pretty variable. So I thought I’d share a poem that I am pleased with, but it was written a while ago (last year, the day after the UK election results – to be precise!). I hope you like it!

 “In our age there is no such thing as ‘keeping out of politics.’ All issues are political issues, and politics itself is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred and schizophrenia.” – George Orwell

I hold a loss in both hands
Shuffle thoughts and search for colour
Cling to values
And skin clawing expressions

Cold, blue bodies fill the room
Processions prepare
To share in hope
At the failing house

Hollow opinions swell
Footsteps hit moving caskets
Tripping on crossed cracks
Doorsteps break hearts

Apathy swings opinion
Away from red shame-vaults
Intentional power takes action
To deliver mournful results